Vulnerable by Amy Lane
(iUniverse / 0-595-33746-5 / February 2005 / 278 pages / $17.95)
Amy Lane's Vulnerable is the first of three fantasy novels (so far) in what the author calls The Little Goddess Series. The other two books are Wounded (2006 / $20.95) and Bound (2007 / $25.95). You can tell from the prices that the latter two are longer works than Vulnerable. The most surprising thing about the book is its blatant usage of the f-bomb and its many brothers and sisters in the field of sexual innuendo, as well as some sex that is just in-and-out. The language and plotline will raise your eyebrows a little more when you learn that this story blossoms from the alter ego of a high school English teacher. What's even more shocking is the lack of adequate proofreading from an English teacher! These two elements define the essence of Vulnerable, and, I suspect, will also strongly color your personal opinion of the book as a reader.
As I have stated in my Amazon and B&N reviews, Vulnerable is like a good punk-rock band: yes, it may be obscene noise, but it sure is good, spunky fun! Ms. Lane's lead character is a nineteen-year-old college student who works the late-night shift at a Chevron gas station and convenience store. She has been holding her private little leather-and-piercing persona together in her quiet world in the middle of nowhere while she studies to prove herself to the world. In walks a giant, six-foot elf with a silver, plaited ponytail to light up her world. His best pal, and bisexual lover, is a vampire the elf rescued from sexual slavery when he was still a young human. Before you know it, Cory the punkette is in love with both of them. Off she rides prior to the sunrise to begin her new life with a very large passel of elves, vampires, and shapeshifters. In case you want to know, Cory remains human throughout the story, but boy, does she have spunk!
Amy Lane has gathered her own personal cadre of obsessors who buy and read her Little Goddess books. You will find plenty of their raving, five-star reviews at Amazon and B&N. You might suppose that the current Harry Potter and Tolkien trilogy madness has something to do with Amy's success, and I think you would be correct in that assumption. As the chief of the proofreading police, I could never donate five stars to Vulnerable, but four is a cinch, mostly because of that rampant spunk. Unlike Lou Grant, I like spunk! I admire it, in fact. Amy Lane's use of the language deserves kudos for its reckless abandon. Vulnerable is just plain fun to read! It's like if Anne Rice was not so dead serious, or meticulous. I strongly suspect that Ms. Lane gets in far too big a hurry composing with that rabid imagination of hers that she loses sight of the structural details. She claims that the later books are better edited, but you know me, the turtle, I don't count my ducks until I hear them quacking. If the errors really have been lessened in the later books, good for her, but if they have not, fool me once or shame on you, Amy Lane.
Don't go buying Vulnerable for your twelve-year-old just because she goes ga-ga over Harry Potter and the rest of that fantasy treasure for young adults. The Little Goddess most assuredly has adult, sexual issues more in common with Anne Rice than J. K. Rowling or Tolkien. Of course, as a Rice fan, and not a regular fantasy genre reader, I loved Vulnerable. I like the characters and the manner in which they speak, as if they really do live in the modern American underground. Although Ms. Lane now holds the dubious honor of being the typo boo-boo record holder at iUniverse Book Reviews, when I read Vulnerable I felt inclined to give the proofreading squad the night off and Amy Lane a suspended sentence. Yes, the compositional quality is that good.
See Also: Tabitha's B&N Review (still awaiting posting by B&N as of 7/26/07)